Monday, February 26, 2007

My Road To NY Comic Con 2007

Note, this should have gone up Saturday, but I was really tired after I came home, so it goes up now.

After waiting 3 months and regretting not going last year for even longer, today, Saturday the 24th, I finally made the trip to the New York Comic Con. Comic Con, while primarily a comic book convention, is a huge pop culture festival, with representatives from movies, TV, comics, video games, anime, manga, and more present. As far as I know this is one of the most important festivals in the field, only paling in comparison to the huge annual San Diego gathering (which I have yet to go to…maybe one day…). Anyway, here's a recap of my day:

The festival started at 10 AM today, with people being checked in as early as 9AM. Of course this means I rolled out of bed at 8:30, expecting to beat the early rising crowd (those fools). I unfortunately was going alone, because Pete DiSilvio made up some excuse about being broke…you know Pete, Oliver Queen was broke too, and did he give up? No, he dated Black Canary.

Anyway, I still had hope that at the festival I would run into one of the many Nonsensers that were also going, and hopefully I wouldn't be alone the whole time.

So, I arrive at the Javitz Center around 11:00, with the perfect amount of time to make the DC panel at noon…at least I thought. To my horror the line to get in was spanning a five-block radius from the building. Perfect. "Don't worry, it's moving fast" the security personal said. Meanwhile an hour later, I'm still on the line. Well, forget about that Noon panel…I guess I'll read what happened in it at Newsarama. If it weren't for the on-going witty comments coming from the couple behind me about the monstrous line, I don't think I would have kept my sanity. Thank you mystery couple, you made me laugh numerous times, even though you don't know me, and you probably thought my odd laughter was creepy, and an obvious sign that I was ease dropping on you. Sorry.

So, finally I get into the building a little after 12. I'm not sure what the line was for exactly, since they didn't scan my ticket or anything, the security guard barely looked at it and sent me along. I hope the line out of the building isn't that long as well…

At first entrance onto the main floor, I'm completely overwhelmed by…everything. All around me are booths full of people who probably could tell me incredibly obscure facts about forgotten comics like the exact issue number that Beefeater first appeared in Giffen's JLE (it's #20, contrary to what is written on wikipedia. I have the damn issue). Not to mention the crowd. If there were at least 500 people on that line waiting, there was at least quadruple that inside the place. I felt like I was sleepwalking while shifting through the aisles and past the clusters of people with witty T-shirts. I pass at least 3 Stormtroopers and two Supergirls, one of which had no business being dressed up like Supergirl. Lines formed out of nowhere for artist and writer signings. I've never seen people rush to a line so quickly just to spend 2 minutes telling one man how much you loved their work and for them to hand you back your comic now officially unreadable because of a bunch of illegible big marker letters written across the front of it. I made my way to the back of the floor, staring at all the booths in front of me with disbelief. The number of independent retailers selling comics from "The Golden Age" or shitty copies of bootlegged videos astounded me. One seller had a bootleg DVD set of "Heroes" labeled "The Compete First Season." "But the first season isn't even over yet…" "Well, it's every episode up until the last one, and it's $60. I can bring it down to 50, but that's it." I could also watch all the episodes free online.

I started counting the number of girls I saw dressed like Harley Quinn. There had to be at least 7, including one girl who didn't look any older than 7. Harley was probably the second most popular costume there, only trumped by the aforementioned Supergirls. Wow were there a lot of Supergirls. If the past serves any purpose, it's that I've learned that there are a good number of girls who don't like comic books, and think conventions like this are only for geeky nerds, but honestly, at one point, I'm almost positive there were more girls than guys in the building. And I mean gorgeous girls…any stereotypes people had about girls that like comics could have been broken by just stepping foot in the place. Wow.

WARNING, Rant starting: Now, I'm not even counting the girls that were working booths, many of whom were clad in absolutely nothing. I'd never thought I'd say this, but that actually offended me…me! I mean, these girls are obviously trying to appeal to a stereotypical portrayal of the male comic book nerd, you know, the porn addict who melts at the sight of a pretty girl talking to him…and well, I thought it was a little wrong. The fact that some of these girls were walking around handing out fliers trying to convince people to buy stuff from their booth while only wearing what looked like body paint really pissed me off. I couldn't believe it. I mean, there was a Playboy playmate there at the convention signing autographs or something, and she was dressed quite well…much better than these girls. You know, I'm just going to stop complaining about this, because I'm probably just shooting myself in the foot here…either that or you're all going to think I'm gay. Rant over.

Anyway, after I found a bathroom, because I had drunk too much water, I started wandering through Artist Alley. In the booth marked "Jimmy Palmiotti" sat J.G. Jones. This was confusing to both myself and apparently him, since at times he was telling lesser-informed fans that he was Jimmy Palmiotti. Jones has been doing amazing work as the cover artist of 52, and well, I wanted to tell him that (and now I'm starting to understand those fanboys rushing for autographs earlier). So I approached him and said "Now what is JG Jones doing in the booth that is marked for Jimmy Palmiotti?" To which he replied by saying the exact thing back to me, in an exaggerated version of my voice "That's my best impression, sorry." Wow. J.G. Jones just mocked me. Anyway, this developed into a very interesting conversation about how I loved the 52 cover that was Batman fighting the dragon, and how apparently I'm the only one who understood that was a reference to the famous St. George fighting the dragon and was representing Batman fighting his inner-demons. (I don't believe I'm the only one who got this, but that's what he said.) I also asked him if that was a clue for upcoming issues of 52, if that means Batman will be fighting Richard Dragon? "No, but that's a good interpretation of that."

After J.G. Jones I found the creators of "Action Philosophers!" where I had another very interesting conversation, which resulted in me jokingly threatening to sue them if their comic wasn't good. I'm such a jokester me…

Wondering around trying to find some of the Nonsensers, I went through a bunch of the booths. The Cheerleader from "Heroes" was signing autographs, as was Gary Coleman. I got pictures with Kyle Baker and Chris Claremont(who I also managed to piss off), as well as tell Rags Morales that he draws a great Black Canary. Jimmy Palmiotti (finally at his booth) drew a quick sketch of Jonah Hex for me and signed it. That was cool. I stopped by the "Masters of Horror" booth, and had a poster signed by all 6 directors there, including John Landis. This was kinda funny because I told Landis that even though this was a Masters of Horror booth, I preferred his comedies like The Blues Brothers and Animal House, to which the director next to him (I'm sorry, but I don't know his name) said jokingly "Well, fuck you man" and signed the poster "Fuck You Billy". That was awesome.

Bill Plympton signed an autograph for me, and I had a fun conversation with one of his, I guess assistants about the costumes some people were wearing to the convention. "I'm shocked that I've only seen one Slave Leia" I said. "Yeah, and no Black Canarys." (I know, I know). Past the aforementioned top two costumes of Supergirl and Harley Quinn, there were quite a few assorted Jedi walking about, as well as an abundance of people dressed like Anime characters. It's interesting to try and comprehend the dedication some of these people have to Anime characters, and their desire to look exactly like them, no matter how unhuman the character might look. I mean some of them had white paint above their eyes just to make them look bigger; and the amount of gel and coloring in some peoples' hair… Honestly, humans don't look like that for a reason. Becoming a carbon copy of your character doesn't work. Though it does a certain surreal aspect to the whole thing…hell, looking at the crowd at an event like this is like getting a lesson in post-modernism.

Other than them there were some really cool costumed people wandering around. There was a Superman and Batman that looked like what would happen if Alex Ross drew real people (that's not a compliment by the way). There was a Blue Beatle, a Flash and a Green Lantern, all of which I got a picture with. At least three Spidermans, all in different versions of his costume. A really cool Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn combo. A 30-year-old man trying to be Aqualad, skin tight clothes and messed up wig and all. Honestly, he looked like a transvestite in that getup (and Aqualad's a guy!). There was also a skin tight Aquaman running around with very visual nipples. I wonder if it was Joel Schumacher. Boba Fett didn't seem out of place at all, and neither did an almost perfect looking Jean Grey/Phoenix. But the best costume there had to go to a man dressed as the Golden Age Vigilante. Now that's an original costume. Honestly, who would want to be the Vigilante? Who would think to be The Vigilante? That guy's officially entered my book of cool.

Oh, and there was also Skelator. An out-of-work Skelator. Awesome.

During my conversation with Bill Plympton's aide (and Plympton himself at intervals), another fan came up and asked if Plympton could draw him a picture of a man fighting a shark. Apparently, he's asked every artist there to draw a picture of a man fighting a shark, and he's trying to fill up a whole sketchbook of it. This man has just made my official cool list as well. Plympton's aide went on to tell us about how last year someone had every artist draw a picture of Marvel Comics Tigra (I assume even if they are from DC). I didn't even know there were Tigra fans. I didn't even know Tigra was still alive until I saw her used in "Civil War". That guys cool too, cause now he has a whole sketchbook of Tigra drawn by different artists.

I kept on checking Keith Giffen and Peter David's booths at Artist Alley, but they never showed up. I wanted to go meet Paul Dini but I never got around to it. I was really tempted to go up to Rob Liefeld and tell him that I love his work and I would love it if he drew me a picture of Captain America, you know, the one with the insanely large muscles, but I figured I wouldn't be able to keep a straight face while saying it, and the joke would be ruined. There was a table set up for Opie and Anthony and Ron and Fez, but none of them were at the table. That was disappointing. Jim Shooter had a table too…I'm not sure why.

After searching for him all day, I finally found the DC comics Sandwich board guy, and got my "Jimmy Olsen Must Die!" and "WWMMD?" pins. That being my final accomplishment of the day, I began to get ready to head home. As I'm walking out, I see Art Tebbel, Editor-In-Chief for Nonsense, (one of the Nonsensers I had been looking for all day.) Figures, I only find him as I'm leaving.

It was a fun day at the convention. I bought some nice comic books (I finally have every copy of "Chase"!), and I met some great comic book creators. Plus I have a picture with me and that guy dressed as Vigilante. That's so cool.

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